Taney asks, “If the human organism is now understood to be part of a complex web of biological, ecological, and cosmological relations, can aesthetic form be reimagined as a means by which we engage with that larger complexity?”
This is a huge and fertile question. So much has been
discovered in recent years about the dynamic interrelatedness by which humans
and the entire physical world are actually structured and actually function
that, if a nature-oriented posthumanist aesthetic ever did carry the day, I think
just catching up on what we now know about how every entity and every being is
creatively engaged at every nanosecond with vast fields of interrelatedness
would be part of art education! For starters, artists might find useful Relational Reality (2011), a book in
which I present and consider recent discoveries of dynamic interrelatedness in
human physiology – how we are inherently affected by our connections with
nature and with other people. Finally, the biomechanistic model of the body is
being challenged and nudged aside after 300 years by the new findings. We cannot really grasp the implications of the new relational knowledge, though, unless we set ourselves on a learning curve because it is so different from what we learned in our modern schooling.
Since the act of perceiving art (or anything else) is now understood to be dynamic and relational and since a “subject” of a posthumanist art might well be contemplation of nature and cosmos (including us) as unimaginably dynamic and interrelated, what form-subject might by evoked by our new awareness of all the creative and lively complexity? This is a formidable aesthetic challenge that could never be exhausted.